For designer Barry Grzebik, Taiwan solar stadium 'far and away biggest project'

[caption id="attachment_12518" align="alignleft" width="144" caption="Barry Grzebik"][/caption]

PETALUMA - The World Games are being played in the world's first solar-powered sports stadium, a showplace project in Taiwan that boasts the largest 100-percent solar-powered acoustical and audio system ever designed.

And it is a Petaluma sound system designer and consultant who is responsible for it.

Grzebik Design Group, pretty much a one-man show by Barry Grzebik and a handful of contract workers, was part of the international team gathered by Taiwan to build the extraordinary stadium.

[caption id="attachment_12519" align="alignright" width="193" caption="The Grzebik Design Group contributed the audio portion of the world's first 100 percent solar-powered stadium in Taiwan"][/caption]

Located in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, the $5 billion sports venue features a 150,700-square-foot roof incorporating 8,844 solar panels, resembling a flowing river. The panels generate 1.4 million kilowatts annually and when the stadium is not in use, electricity fed into the grid will provide nearly 80 percent of the area's energy needs.

"It's an incredible building," said Mr. Grzebik (pronounced grehz-bic), who has been traveling to Taiwan over three years to install the acoustical segment.

"I did some work for the Chinese Olympics, but this is far and away the biggest project I've ever been involved in."

His system needed to deliver 105 decibels of high-fidelity audio coverage to 40,000 seated spectators, or 55,000 when an additional 15,000 seats are added for special occasions.

The entire digitally-controlled sound system, as well as lighting, two jumbo vision screens and all other systems in the facility get their electricity from the roof and its long, tail-like extension.

Mr. Grzebik, who has designed systems for Academy Awards ceremonies, Albert Hall productions and Olympic events, is no stranger to large venues.

But the challenges posed by the Taiwan National Stadium went beyond the need to keep the system low in weight, cost and energy consumption.

For one thing, he was asked to meet and exceed the International Association of Athletics Federation standard for high-fidelity music and spoken or pre-recorded general event and emergency announcements, regardless of venue use or circumstances.

It was a Taiwanese friend who had worked with him in the past who got him invited to provide the sound system.

"I expect my involvement will result in more of my Asian acquaintance thinking of me when there are jobs to be done. Contacts are the best way to find work in Japan, China, and other Asian countries," he said.

He chose Apogee speakers for the project, for their high output-to-size performance. Mr. Grzebik was Apogee's director of engineering when the firm was located in Petaluma. Acquired by Bogan Communications in 1999, it has since moved operations to New Jersey.

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